Friday, November 20, 2009

McClure Caught Trying to Rig Outside Lawyer Contract

If there were any doubts in my mind about DA John Morganelli's intention to remove Ron Angle from County Council for purely political reasons, they were erased at last night's County Council meeting. Morganelli lackey Lamont McClure made sure of that. Before the night was over, Angle had established that McClure tried, and very nearly succeeded, in steering the county's labor lawyer contract away from its current firm. Caught red-handed, all a petulant McClure could do in the end was mouth "Bye, Bye," to Angle, in an obvious reference to Morganelli's threat. It's a tale of two councilman - one who is out to hose the taxpayers and another whose absence would be sorely missed. Let me tell you the story.

Hallman Tudders & Sorrentino are the legal beagles who conduct the County's labor negotiations with 11 different unions. Lamont McClure, himself a lawyer, obviously realizes this is a specialized field. He knows in-house lawyers are at a disadvantage when negotiating complicated union contracts without outside help.

That's exactly what he wants! He may be elected by the taxpayers, but his Master is the Union.

Naturally, McClure has been complaining about "excessive" fees paid to this firm. The Stoffa administration, realizing it had no contract for outside legal help, requested proposals from Hallman Tudders and other firms. These were evaluated and graded by a committee. Guess who managed to get himself appointed to that committee? That's right. It was Lamont McClure. He even volunteered.

Here's what he did. He made sure he gave Hallman Tudders very low ratings, completely out of sync with other members. By doing this, he effectively took this firm, which knows the County, out of contention. As a result, the Administration had no choice but to propose awarding this contract for outside legal services to another firm.

When the matter came up last night, McClure made a mistake. He decided to play cute. Although a member of the committee making this recommendation, he told Council he would refuse to introduce the resolution. He really just wants to prevent the County from getting any half decent labor lawyers to deal with 11 different unions.

This made the Northampton County Bulldog, Ron Angle, suspicious. He began asking questions. When the smoke finally cleared, he had proven that McClure was manipulating the bidding process, trying to deprive the County of its labor lawyers.

Here's a transcript of the exchange among Angle, Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti, McClure, Jerry Seyfried and Mike Dowd.

Angle: "Would I be safe in saying that Mr. McClure's votes were extremely low in one case, extremely, extremely low in one case, and extremely, extremely high in another case?"

Fiscal Director Vic Mazziotti: "I don't know if I can characterize the votes. Is it appropriate that I share this ...

Angle: "Well, you know, I inquired earlier about the possibility of going into executive session. I rarely like executive sessions, quite frankly, because you don't do the people's business in executive session. But I don't think this qualifies for executive session. I think it's the people's business and I think I am entitled and the public's entitled to every piece of information that you have."

Mazziotti: [after conferring with the Exec] "Well, I don't object."

At this point, Angle rambles offtrack about the Sunshine Law, and Vic agrees Ron's an expert.

Jerry Seyfried: "Do you think that the numbers were skewered?"

Angle: "Thank you. Wonderful question. You're co-counsel, you're giving closing arguments. I like that."

Mazziotti: [pause] "I don't think it's appropriate for me to characterize whether that's true or not ..."

Angle: "I have said many times, numbers are your specialty. You are an expert on numbers. His question was very fair. Do you believe, as an expert in numbers, that the numbers were skewered, yes or no?"

Mazziotti: "I think Mr. McClure's ..."

Angle: "Yes or no, I'm not asking Mr. McClure, I'm asking you."

Mazziotti: "Well, you have to define for me what you mean by ..."

Angle: "Very low, very high."

Mazziotti: "Yes, I would say that's true, in a couple of categories."

Angle: "Thank you very much. So at this point in time, if you want my opinion, we need to throw out how this process was done, and frankly, I'm not a fan of Tallman Hudders, but I think they did get the shaft. We need to throw out the process, I'd like you to have a new committee, and not have anybody on that committee who has personal axes to grind. The system was flawed, and the system should never be flawed so that it is skewered. I say that and I am not a Tallman Hudders fan. I am just the opposite, I'm not fond of that firm. But in all fairness, fair is fair, right is right, wrong is wrong. You want to table this? This would be a great time to table it ..."

Seyfried: "It hasn't been introduced."

Mike Dowd (presiding for an absent Ann McHale): "It hasn't been introduced. At the moment, it hasn't been introduce, so we don't have anything to discuss."

Angle: "This is not the first time this has happened, quite frankly, and it's very disturbing to me."

Dowd: "It has not been introduced, then it fails for want of not being introduced, and we will ask the Administration to come back."

Angle: "I would hope, Mr. Executive, that you would do the process over so that the process is not flawed and it is done 100% above board."

McClure: "Well, what was not above board?"

Angle: "What was not above board was, your numbers on the outfit that won it were extremely high. It was enough to sway it over, that that's who it went to. Your numbers on the firm that came in second were extremely low, and not in line with anybody else's numbers."

McClure: "Are you sure about that? Are you sure about that? Why were my numbers on the outfit that won it extremely high?"

Angle: "I'm not done yet."

McClure: "Why were my numbers on the outfit that won it extremely high?"

Angle: "I'm not interested in this. Mr. Mazziotti has answered my questions for me. But I can give you many areas where you've done the same thing."

McClure: "Oh no, I want to know from you, in public, why my numbers on the outfit that won it ere extremely high?"

Angle: "For once, you got caught."

McClure: "I got caught doing what, Ron?"

Angle: "The same thing you caught caught for with the Gambling Authority. Hauling somebody in. Using your influence as a County Councilman, you brought a law firm in from Harrisburg and said, 'These are experts,' trying to lobby for that firm. That's not what you should be doing."

McClure: "So the law firm that got recommended by the Administration tonight got recommended because of my extremely high grades for them?"

Angle: "Well, let's try this. Mr. Mazziotti, had Mr. McClure's votes not been calculated and only the votes of the other people, would not Tallman Hudders have been the high score?"

Mazziotti: "I believe so."

Angle: "Thank you very much. End of case. I don't want to discuss it with you, Mr. McClure, you've been caught. Let's move on."

McClure: "Caught doing what, sir?"

Angle: "Your usual stuff is what you were caught doing?"

McClure: "What is the usual stuff? What is the thing I've been caught doing?"

Angle: "Mr. President, let's move on."

McClure: "Move on to what? You've made an accusation, now state it."

Angle: "I've proved my accusation."

McClure: "You've proved what?"

Ignoring McClure for the moment, Jerry Seyfried asked Executive John Stoffa to establish another committee to take a second look at the proposals. Acting president Dowd agreed the process has to be redone, and Council voted to do so. Jerry Seyfried then suggested that McClure might want to explain what he was doing.

By this time, a very red and angry McClure shouted, "Do I want to explain anything? I don't want to explain anything. [Angle] made an allegation about a tainted score. I want to know what he means."

As Acting President Dowd moved onto the next item on the agenda, McClure put his hand over the mike and started mouthing "Bye, Bye" to Angle. The Bulldog turned his mike on and barked at McClure, "I'm not going bye, bye, Lamont. Your buddy John going to send me away? I don't think so."

I don't think so either. But if Angle had been ousted from Council, McClure would have a much easier time screwing the County out of the lawyers they need to deal with unions.

Maybe Morganelli should seek an emergency hearing.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Morganelli is simply the lowest scoundrel in the history of NC. And to think that dishonest little weasel is supposed to be our chief law enforcement officer? I'd like to threaten him publicly in front of his Catholic parishioners. He doesn't seem to have a problem with his ilk settling scores in church. He's lower than snake shit and needs to be removed. He's wanted out for years. Time for the Nasty Napoleon with the painful-to-hear Philly accent to go.

Anonymous said...

This is blatant corruption at Northampton County's worst. This is just the beginning of this painful drama. Joe Long must be proud.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I heard McClure is switching his registration to Republican today.

Anonymous said...

I can't say this surprises me. You would think with Long about to be indicted and all his other allies voted out of office in shame by their own party that McClure would cool it. He's like those Japanese military officers found in a cave on some remote island in the Pacfic in the 1990s that didn't know WWII was over.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Banker, Incidentally, Angle has raised one of the concersns you expressed yesterday he does not jnow how he can be expected to vote on the DA's budget after this. I told him it is not a technical conflict, but he feels uncomfortable about it.

Morganelli and McClure play political games while the rest of the county is trying to determine ways to minimize futire costs.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's see if any of this makes sense. Hasn't the law firm that does the labor work for us billed the county $700,000+ to negotiate contracts? Didn't these contracts result in 11% increases in pay while the counties throughout the state realized substantially lower increases? Why shouldn't someone be questionning this firm? I didn't realize we were so rich we could pay exhorbitant amounts for labor lawyers? Why not just use this money for the workers?

This looks like a personal attack, again, by some people that only like transparency when it suits them.

Keep up the good work Mr. McClure and don't let the shady people stop you from doing the right thing for the county and its taxpayers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is no personal attack. it is accurate and largely verbatim.

"Hasn't the law firm that does the labor work for us billed the county $700,000+ to negotiate contracts?"

Over how many years? Do you have that figure, Lamont? And these were first time contracts. It involves most of the 11 unions.

"Didn't these contracts result in 11% increases in pay while the counties throughout the state realized substantially lower increases?"

These were first time contracts among employees who were never previously unionized and who just went thru 3 years of payfreezes. Tjose increases do not reflect on the lawyers, but on a previous administration that would not pay a living wage, Lamont.

Of course, your goal is to hamstring the county and force it to use inexperienced lawyers to negotiate with unions. One look at your campaign finance reports makes that clear.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I love your videos but it's really effective when you type out the dialogue. It's much better to analyze when it's complicated like this. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Guilty until proven innocent in Bernie's court, for democrats only

Sandra Walters Weiss said...

Love Him or Hate Him sounds like Angle on the right Angle

Sandra Walters Weiss said...

Love Him or Hate Him sounds like Angle on the right Angle

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Mr. McClure is a champion of the people, a modern day Robin Hood. Also, how did you manage to post at 1:40 a.m., your office, I mean the courthouse was closed.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Robin Hood is a good example. Seems to me, that Robin Hood fought his own battles. Mr. McClure prefers to hide behind others, first Severson, and now DA Morganelli. However, I might subscribe to the thief part.
God Bless Lamont!

Anonymous said...

Why do you call them "Hallman Tudders", isn't it Tallman, Hudders? Not nitpicking, but wondering if I'm missing a joke.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there anyone out there who wants to be the District Attorney to protect the citizenry instead of grabbing power and twisting arms for money to run around the state trying to get elected? Will Morganelli ever relent and just be happy doing his job instead of acting like some Grand Vizier over us lowly infidels?

Anonymous said...

11:38 - Agree. It's time to challenge this guy and complete the purge of Long Democrats.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that Bernie fails to mention the firm that Lamont was supposedly steering the legal services contract too. Then, he would need to make a connection between Lamont and that firm.

Bernie's post proves nothing other than Lamont gave Tallman Hudders low scores.

The county could do better than Tallman Hudders.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I'd feel uncomfortable about it too if I were Angle. Even if there is no technical conflict, the appearance of a conflict is there in spades.

The Banker

OUTRAGED DEM said...

What "people" is McClure a champion of exactly? I'd like to meet one and ask him or her a few questions.

Anonymous said...

Dear O'Hater

This is the sleaziest anti-McClure hit piece ever written by you, O'Hater.

No one on that committee thinks that McClure did anything but vote his conscience. McClure has for more than two years been talking about this problem and everyone including you, O'Hater knows it.

Your unfounded hatred of McClure stinks like cheap cologne. Try another fragrance.

Regards,
Not McClure

Anonymous said...

To read this, Angle sounds like he's the lawyer and mcClueless is whatever Angle is (a plantation owner?).

Anonymous said...

Banker

I agree. Angle will be damned for every thing he doesn't support and everything he does support. Someone will question his motivation, and it will probably be the same person(s) who put him in this position. The really unfortunate part is that the taxpayers of NoCo may lose the valuable input of a person on council who truly understands the county’s finances. When I first read the story I wondered if perhaps that was the motivation of the DA all along.

StillAnonymous

Anonymous said...

McClure is for the people the way Dertinger was for the people. Only problem is the people aren't for them.

The Anglophile said...

Great Robin Hood analogy. Did a McClure supporter write that?

From Wikipedia:

The term seems to be applied as a form of shorthand to any fugitive or outlaw. Even at this early stage, the name Robin Hood is used as that of an archetypal criminal. This usage continues throughout the medieval period. In a petition presented to Parliament in 1439, the name is again used to describe an itinerant felon. The petition cites one Piers Venables of Aston, Derbyshire, "who having no liflode, ne sufficeante of goodes, gadered and assembled unto him many misdoers, beynge of his clothynge, and, in manere of insurrection, wente into the wodes in that countrie, like as it hadde be Robyn Hude and his meyne."[23] The name was still used to describe sedition and treachery in 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his associates were branded "Robin Hoods" by Robert Cecil.

Anonymous said...

good on angle for being objective. wasn't tallman the firm that handled the libel suit brought by gates agauinst angle?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:49, Amen. In order to purge the County of the Long Dem's you need to get rid of both McClure and Barron in 2011. They are both the last remianing Long Dem's.

After that maybe real honest Dem's may come forward.

Anonymous said...

"No one on that committee thinks that McClure did anything but vote his conscience."

I don't know who you talked to, but you didn't talk to anyone on the committee. They all saw what McClure did. They don't want to get in the middle of this fiasco. Retribution would be swift.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Why do you call them "Hallman Tudders", isn't it Tallman, Hudders?"

Yes it is. I must have dyslexai.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anglophile, Thanks for the history lesson. I love that kind of stuff and appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

This is such bullshit. Who was on this committee besides Mazziotti and McClure, that is the bigger question.

As an Attorney, McClures opinion of lawyer usefulness seems to mean more than Mazziotti's.

I have no dog in this fight but of course Mazziotti is going to do what Angle wants as he is part of the Stoffa team.

Tallman has cost the County big bucks. Blaming Reibman is so passe. The fact is living wages have always been paid that is a false argument. The current contracts are extremely generous. Frankly, they may as well have been written by the Union leaders so I guess I don't see the great value in the existing firm.

But the telling thing will be to know who were all the members of the Committee. That will tell if McClure may have been bad or he was set up by the members who had a choice before they even sat down. Also we must be told who will be on the new committee.

Let us be truely transparent!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lamont,

If you wanted to be transparent, you could have explained yourself during the Council meeting. Yet you refused a direct invitation from Jerry to do so.

You set out to torpedo Tallman Hidders and do not want any outside lawyers representing the county in union negotiations, putting the taxpayers at a disadvantage.

The membership of the committee was identified last night, and it included Vic, the Purchasing office Director, the Director of Human Resources and the County Solicitor. Your votres were completely out of synce with theirs. If you wanted to suggest last night that they had all conspired to rig the bid in favor of Tallman, you had an opportunity to do so. Insterad, you make anonymouse smears here, which is very much in fitting with the character Angle demonstrated you have last night.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

I welcome your thoughts and love to argue. Feel free to disagree. But remember, commenting is a privilege, not a right. I will delete personal attacks or off-topic remarks.

Anonymous said...

So it was all Administration insiders except for McClure. Hell why have a committee just ask Stoffa who he wants.

What a BS committee.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Of course it was the administration. That's who will be working w/ this form. And when it comes to a question of integrity between Vic Mazziotti and Karl longenbach on one side, and lomont McClure on the other, I'll take mazziotti and Longenbach every time.

Anonymous said...

Lamont is the only member of the committee who was objective. This is a hatchet job by Angle and Jerry.

Not very professional. Mazziotti helped put the County in the hole, why trut him now.

Anonymous said...

Then ask them on the record what they think ?

Anonymous said...

Filthy shiftless rigger.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Lamont is so handsome, please feature him more often.

Anonymous said...

Censor at will but the County knows the truth behind Mr. Angle.

Anonymous said...

The Truth will win out in the end! Go Lamont!!

Anonymous said...

After reading this over and over I fail to see the point you are trying to make, or more to the point any support for your's and angle accusations. I guess with Detinger exiting council you have a need to create a new bad guy. You spent years sliming Detinger should we now expect you will try to use this same inappropriate treatment to McClure. I have read your rantings over time and know that you don't let the facts get in your way of a story where you try to make Angle look like a hero... But as it turns out only You and Angle have ever been found GUILTY of anything.
You should avoid making any comparisons with McClure since you and Angle only look small when you do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What Lamont has been found GUILTY of is attempting to rig the bid so that the county's current outside lawyers are out of a job. In addition, as Lamont himself made clear by his refusal to introduce the resolution, he is trying to make sure the county has no outside counsel at all. He wants the unions to be able to walk all over the county. His actions tarnished the entire process so that council has to do this bid evaluation over. His votes were completely out of sync with those of every other committee member.

Just a few weeks before this, he appeared at the Gaming Authority and had some lawyer give a lengthy presentation as to why they should hire his firm.

Any review of McClure's campaign finance report reveals that, aside from Morganelli, his main source of support are unions and outside attorneys. He should be kept away from any decisions involving them. He will not act fairly, which hurts the taxpayer.

Incidentally, McClure is no new bad guy. He demonstrated his bad will, and on this blog, long before Dertinger. When I first criticized him for a Sunshne Act violation, he came on this blog and attempted to bully me and threaten me with libel and point out my '85 legal suspension, kind of like what you're doing. As it turns out, McClure not only had the Sunshine Act law wrong, but was excoriated by the Morning Call and Bill White.

He is a bad member of Council who shoukld not be in government at all.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McClure works for the Taxpayers and not Mr. Stoffa's legal firm. Who cares if they get the job or not. It is not the taxpayers job to ensure employment to this firm.

As to letting the Unions walk all over us. Mr. Stoffa and this firm has handed out the most generous contracts in the history of the County. Some raises in the 10% range. I would guess the Union would LOVE to keep this County Law firm.

Lamont makes a very good point. Mr. Stoffa moaned the County had too many lawyers on staff. So he came in changed the lawyers but still handed out jobs and yet goes out and pays a million dollars to a law firm to give out great unnion contracts.

I wish there were more Lamonts on Council questioning what is going on instead of blindly following whatever te Administration wants to do.

This is really a desperate move by Angle angered that he has been called to task over his actions. You have proven only that and nothing more.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lamont,

Yeah, That must be why Council decided that the process has to be repeated. Most of my blog is verbatim from the Council meeting, and what it makes clear is that you did your best to steer the work away from all outside lawyers, particularly the law firm most familiar with the unions.

And as I made clear earlier, the reason why these contracts were so generous is because the union workers had in most cases gone without any raises for over three years. For some reason, you refuse to acknowledge that. You also refuce to acknowledge that moast of these contracts were the first ones ever negotiated.

But then again, you're not interested in the truth. You're interested in screwing the taxpayers who pay for these union contracts. Rather than having lawyers trained in labotr negotiation, you'd rather have the County send in lawyers who have no experience in that field. Your purpose is to give unions, who fund your campaigns, an unfair adavantage. And if the county has to pay outside lawyers, you will want to make sure it is to lawyers who help fund your campaigns.

As Angle said, you've been caught. It is apparent to everyone. And that's why Council voted to repeat the process.

Anonymous said...

This Council is a Stoffa rubber stamp.

The only person caught was Angle being a spoiled brat because he is in trouble, again. The Committee was stacked for the Administration insiders, they all wanted the politically insider firm and scored accordingly. Lamont scored independent of any insider interest. So a new committee of insiders will be formed with one of the rubber stamp Council members and I will bet you Stoffa's 35% pay raise they pick Tallmen.

Surprise, Surprise. Even the newspapers that have always been in the bag for Stoffa, wouldn't write the Nonsense you did. The only thing Lamont was caught at was exposing the insider game on Council and the Administration that gives out 10% union raises and has close to drained the County coffers so now we need a 9% tax increase.

Anonymous said...

For the 2nd time...

Unions are important. They provide a living wage to keep people from needing hand outs.

Why did you delete that post?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The comments deleted here are those that engage in personal attacks or OT rants. If you don't want to be deleted, don't do it. The unions are a necessary evil. They do help needy people get more money, but are greedy and will walk all over taxpayers.

McClure is in their pocket, as evidenced by even a cursory examination of his campaign finance. He should not be allowed near any committee having anything to do with unions or lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lamont,

Your reasoning is laughable. Let me get this straight. You are blaming this law firm for labor contracts that arbitrators had to iron out, because this law firm opposed giving outlandish demands to unions. Most of the contracts went to arbitration. How is this the fault of the law firm?

Then you, yes, you Lamont McClure, voted for these contracts. You keep getting caught lying out of your ass, you don't even know the truth if it ran you over with an 18-wheeler.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This Council is a Stoffa rubber stamp"

No, this council has been a nightmare for Stoffa, stifling him at every opportunity. It is widely regarded the worst council ever. Now as far what happened Thursday night, where were McHale and Dertinger? And I'm sure Jerry Seyfried and Joe Cap will be interested in knowing they are rubber stamps.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. Angle, the contracts the Administration signed and handed to County Council are county Councils fault?

Also the previous Administration who held down costs with employees is to blame for the Stoffa Administration and this law firm agreeing to 10% raises. The rights of employees depend on who is the Executive and if Angle and Ohare endorse him. Fanatical hypocrites.

You guys realize Angle has pictures of McClure on the grassy knoll looking at the twin towers.

You guys are really showing your laughable desperation. Ohare the new Glenn Beck.

More people than Lamont know you and Angle are nuts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

McClure got caught trying to rig a bid to screw the vendor. he got caught trying to deprive the county of legal services in union negotiation. Council recognized this and ordered a do over. After that, a petualnt McClure insisted on mouting "bye bye" to Angle. McClure looked like a childish political hack. You can cast whatever spin you want on what happened, but most of my blog is verbatim what happened.

The Village Idoti said...

Bernie,

What, if any, would be the closest associated, prosecutable criminal charges that would apply to McClure's alleged dereliction of duty?

Peace, ~~Alex

Bernie O'Hare said...

Father Alex,

That's a dangerous question. His actions in this specific bid were not criminal, just stupid. But if it is determined that he is trying to send legal work to some of his pals (like the Gaming Authority law firm), and he stands to gain from it financially, then he could be prosecuted for public corruption. Except who would investigate? Morganelli? McClure's wife works for him. McClure managed one of Morganelli's AG campaigns. Morganelli got McClure his job. He is godfather to one of McClure's children. There is no way he would lift a finger to look at McClure. But notice how quickly he's ready to go after Angle.

Let me be clear, however, that I do not believe or accuse McClure of that kind of conduct.

The Village Idoti said...

Nor do I.

Hate the sin, not the Sinner!

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

McClure,

YOU voted for those Union contracts. YOU approved those contracts. YOU can only blame yourself. End of conversation.